Liotta: Not much for Bay Area sports fans to be thankful for 

What happened?

Two months ago, the Bay Area sports scene was sizzling.

The Giants were still breathing hard in a wild-card race. The 49ers were the upstart disciples of Mike Singletary, whose desire for winners appeared to be satisfied.

JaMarcus Russell still had a shot at becoming a bona fide NFL quarterback, and the Raiders were ... well, the Raiders.

The Warriors were still out of sight and out of mind — which is preferable to watching them play their way into obscurity. And the Sharks were in training camp, which is always preferable to one of their postseason meltdowns.

Now? Ouch! It’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and what does the Bay Area sports fan have to be thankful for?

Sure, the Giants’ late-season fade was no surprise after a season of delightful surprises. The fact that their season had to come to an end may have signaled this two-month downer.

After their unexpected 3-1 start had even the most skeptical thinking postseason thoughts, the 49ers have fallen back so far they’re looking up at mediocrity. Now they look no further along than they were a year ago.

However, the Niners’ Santa Clara slide is nothing compared to the Raiders, who have reached so far into the no-hope handbag they’ve named Bruce Gradkowski their starting quarterback over Russell.

What does Gradkowski bring to the Raiders’ table? Up to this point in his fourth NFL season, he boasts a professional quarterback rating of 58.7, which is still not as high as Russell’s career rating of 65.5, and we all have seen with our own eyes how pitiful Russell has played in order to achieve his mark. 

The only positive a Raiders fan can claim at this point is that their favorite team hasn’t fallen as far as the 49ers. That’s only because they were the worst team in the NFL to begin with.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have taken a quick first step to laughable. They’re the worst defensive team in the league, and the composite record of the first three teams they beat this season — Memphis, Minnesota and New York — was 4-27.

One more thing about the Warriors. Don Nelson should not be fired. He should be forced to stick it out all 82 games on this awful team’s scheduled to play.

Down Interstate 880, the worst thing that happens to the Sharks and their fans is opening night, which signals the parade of another 82 regular-season games that mean nothing when it comes to determining their playoff credentials.

I now believe the more imposing the Sharks look during the regular season simply means the more pain they’ll dole out to their fans in the postseason. I’m actually rooting for them to go through several tough patches, which might change their postseason fate.

I’ve got it. On Thanksgiving, I will be thankful for something in Bay Area sports — only 77 days until the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at tliotta@sfexaminer.com.
 

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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